May 2020 Bonsai Newsletter – 2

As feared, the Conejo Valley Bonsai Society will not meet in person on our next scheduled date, May 21: the Westlake Village Community Center is still closed. City Hall will advise us when it is reopened.

On a brighter note, some bonsai activities have been kept up on social media. For example, some club members report sharing pictures of projects via email. And although closed until further notice for physical visits, the Huntington Library, Art Museum, and Botanical Gardens has been keeping up garden activities on their website.

Now, they have started a new blog titled “Hear and Now.” Hosted by Giovana Romano Sanchez, the new blog will provide a series of short audio es-says that explore objects and ideas found at The Huntington.

What Bonsai Can Teach

First out is an installment titled “What Bonsai Can Teach Us About Patience.” Just what we need to cope with “the frustrations of coronavirus stay-at-home orders,” this audio essay features interviews with Ted Matson, curator of The Huntington’s bonsai collections, and Phillip Bloom, curator of the Chinese Garden and Director of the Center for East Asian Garden Studies at The Huntington.

A CVBS favorite bonsai teacher, Matson used to be a writer. “Whenever he felt writer’s block coming on, he would visit his personal collection of bonsai trees, do a little pruning and pinching and enter a ‘flow state.’ Inevitably, the solution he was seeking would pop into his head.” As he details in his interview, bonsai practice teaches us to patiently “respect … the pace of nature.”

Go to the Huntington’s website ( and scroll down to visit “Hear and Now.”

Meanwhile, I was signed up for the April niche/May virtual niche. As I am looking after some of Ann Lofquist’s trees, I changed the plan to an Ann Lofquist niche. (See story, page 6.)

I confess I made several attempts at photographing Ann’s tree before we came out with a good photograph, an experience that leads me to a very important fact: Our club photographer—David Williams—should get a big hand of applause for the photography he has done for us over the years. From my humble experience, I have great appreciation for his taking excellent pictures for us. Thank you, David!

At the start of this Covid-19 virus, I spent extra time working on my trees, which made me very pleased with my-self. However, over the past couple of weeks and warm weather, everything has taken off and all my work seems to have been lost as all my trees are spiky again. With the growing spurt, I now have wire that needs to come off. It is so true—a bonsai tree is never finished! Enjoy your trees and check the wires.

And while you’re working on your trees, remember to take some pictures to send to Editor David Whiteside for our newsletter and let us know how you are coping with this all.

Finally, many spring bonsai shows have been canceled while others appear to be hoping to take place as scheduled. See Coming Events on page 8 for details as of press time.

Stay safe and enjoy your tree

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